The Leavenworth County health officer does not intend to issue a new health order now that the governor has shifted control of COVID-19 restrictions to the county level.
“Leavenworth County at this time, I don’t believe, needs to impose additional limits and orders based on our current conditions,” County Health Officer Jamie Miller said.
But Miller said he is strongly recommending that county residents and business continue to adhere to guidance he believes has proven to slow down infection rates.
Miller said he is moving forward with what he called the “common sense rule.”
He is asking members of the community to continue to practice social distancing and wear masks when social distancing cannot be maintained.
“The virus is not going away,” he said. “The virus is still here. The virus is still active.”
Miller spoke Wednesday to Leavenworth County commissioners.
A day earlier, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced her statewide plan for gradually easing restrictions related to COVID-19 would no longer be mandatory but serve as guidance. This left the authority for imposing new orders with county health officers.
While Miller is not imposing any new restrictions, the Leavenworth County Health Department released an updated guidance document for reopening the county. The document provides general guidance, such as recommending people frequently wash their hands and use hand sanitizer, as well as recommendations specific to different kinds of businesses.
Leavenworth County commissioners voted Wednesday to show their support for the guidance document.
The document can be found at www.leavenworthcounty.gov/covid
Miller said guidance from the Health Department will be updated as things change.
Also Wednesday, county commissioners voted to authorize the county administrator and senior county counselor to send a demand letter to the state asking for what they believe should be the county’s share of funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
County Administrator Mark Loughry said the C.A.R.E.S. Act included the allocation of funding for COVID-19-related expenses for state and local governments.
Loughry said the state government received $1.25 billion as a result of the federal law. The state’s two largest counties were able to directly apply to the federal government for funding. But other counties are relying on the distribution of funds from the state.
Using a federal formula, Loughry believes about $15.785 million of the C.A.R.E.S. funding received by the state should be allocated for Leavenworth County. Loughry said much of this would be distributed to cities within the county. But the county government would receive about $4.2 million.
The Leavenworth County Health Department reported Wednesday that confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county now total 1,074. This number includes 815 cases involving Lansing Correctional Facility inmates and 67 cases involving staff and inmates at the Grossman Center in Leavenworth.